Are your road bike handlebars positioned properly?
Go and take a quick look at your bike from the side. Look at your handlebars. Are they tilted up slightly? If they are tilted up more than a few degrees then you may have a problem with your overall position.
Your handlebars were designed for a specific position.
The handlebars on your road bike were designed and engineered to be positioned at a certain angle or pretty close to it. If you get outside of that manufacturer’s recommended range, you’re not using the bar to its full potential.
Are all the hand positions open?
On a road bike it’s important to have all the hand positions “open” or usable. When the bars are excessively tilted up it basically makes the drops unusable or extremely uncomfortable.
Visit the handlebar manufacturer’s web site.
Go to the manufacturer’s website. This is the company that made your handlebars, and it’s printed on the front of the bars. Look at the model. Usually, they’ll have a drawing that shows you the angle that the handlebars are designed. On most handlebars, the drops are positioned so they’re tilting up at approximately a 3-6 degree angle. If you can’t find that recommended angle don’t worry just set them between flat and 6 degrees.If you look at the bike from the side, you’ll see the drops of the bars. They’re going to be pointing down toward the back of the bike ever so slightly.
Don’t tilt the bars to raise your hand position.
If you find after positioning your bars properly that the brake hoods are too low and you feel like you want them higher, then you need to adjust the height with a different method than tilting the handlebars. One of the methods for raising the bars is to change to a steeper or taller stem. I will cover that in a future article.
Of course, the best way to deal with all this is to go see a professional bike fitter. That can really save you a lot of time and effort compared to playing with this on your own.
What kind of issues do you have with your handlebar position?
Victor Jimenez is the owner and professional bicycle fitter at www.BicycleLab.com. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter and friend bicyclelab on facebook to learn and ultimately get more out of your riding. If you have any questions or comments on this or any other article, please feel free to email me at Victor@BicycleLab.com. I’ll see you out on the road.